A few minutes past 11:00 on a balmy Wednesday night there’s still action in a tiny stretch of Agnes Street in Detroit’s historic West Village. Doors to the tony Craft Work restaurant are propped open. Although patrons have mostly trickled out, the light from the inside glows over a sleek bar and stylish tables that host busy dinner crowds.
A tall, bespectacled man waits for his carryout order on the sidewalk as he chats casually with another man. The setting could easily masquerade as a street scene from downtown Royal Oak.
Once home to neighborhood attractions like Harlequin Café in the 1990s, Agnes Street is a short strip of the Village that helped bring back the neighborhood’s trendy popularity. Pocketed along Lafayette Boulevard and East Jefferson and Van Dyke Avenues, the community is a short walk from the Detroit River.
Sharing the block with Craft Work are Detroit Vegan Soul, Tarot & Tea and the Red Hook coffee shop, which host West Village’s morning and early evening crowds. Red Hook, which opened at 8025 Agnes last October, has enjoyed patron support. Ryan Barrett, a staff member who grew up in West Village, says it’s good to see independent commercial ventures lead the way to vibrancy in familiar surroundings.
“It’s steady,” says Barrett. “I think anytime there’s business in the neighborhood, it’s a good thing.”
Photos by Tim Galloway